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Sports

October 23, 2012

Cycling officials strip Armstrong of Tour titles

(Continued)

It will likely also trigger painful financial hits for Armstrong as race organizers and former sponsors line up to reclaim what are now viewed as his ill-gotten rewards, though the cyclist maintains he never doped.

Prudhomme wants Armstrong to pay back prize money from his seven wins, which the French cycling federation tallied at €2.95 million ($3.85 million). Armstrong also once was awarded $7.5 million plus legal fees from Dallas-based SCA Promotions Inc., which tried to withhold paying a bonus for the rider’s 2004 Tour victory after it alleged he doped to win.

The U.S. government could also get involved in a case brought by Floyd Landis, who was key to taking down his illustrious former teammate by turning whistleblower in 2010.

The losses pile up for a man who dedicated himself to victory, over other cyclists and the cancer that almost killed him in 1996.

Neither Armstrong nor his representatives had any comment about Monday’s decision, but the rider was defiant in August when he chose not to fight USADA in one of the agency’s arbitration hearings. He argued the process was rigged against him.

“I know who won those seven Tours, my teammates know who won those seven Tours, and everyone I competed against knows who won those seven Tours,” Armstrong said then. “The toughest event in the world where the strongest man wins. Nobody can ever change that.”

The condemnation by McQuaid, cycling’s most senior official, confirmed Armstrong’s pariah status, after the UCI had backed him at times in trying to seize control of the doping investigation from USADA.

McQuaid announced that the UCI accepted the sanctions imposed by USADA and would not appeal them to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. His board will meet Friday to discuss going after Armstrong’s 2000 Olympic bronze medal and the possibility of setting up a “Truth and Reconciliation” commission to air the sport’s remaining secrets.

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